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Mendota Mdewakanton Dakota Tribal Community

Preserving, Protecting and Promoting the Dakota Culture for Future Generations

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Mendota Mdewakanton Newsletter

Honoring Our Ancestors Saturday Feburary 3, 2024.

Honoring Our Ancestors Saturday Feb 3, 2024.

We will be meeting even if it is very cold. Consider the people back in 1862 who were forced to walk with not much food, warm clothes, and no real shelters. Many were women and children, the sick and elderly. Many died on the walk. In Addition to the above, native people lost everything they knew and loved. EVERYTHING!

Please join us for our sacred fire ceremony and potluck gathering.

All listed times are approximate.

Our ceremony will begin with the lighting of the sacred fire at 11 AM at the Fort Snelling State Park: 101 Snelling Lake Rd, St Paul, MN 55111. Park entrance off Highway 5 at Post Road near the MPLS/ST. Paul International Airport.

We will light the sacred fire at 11:00ish by Tommy, Joseph Bestor assisted by Duane, Tim, Dennis, Riley, Richard, Tony, Steve R and others. The ceremony is at 12:00ish indian time.

Stop at park office to get free pass, or bring this flyer. If you have the flyer just drive thought. Drive stright back no turns, about a mile by the Mendota Bridge by the Interpenter Center. Ceremony will be right there.

Please bring tobacco and sage, if you can, for the ceremony. DRESS WARM! The ceremony is outdoors, and it could be cold.

After the ceremony, we will have a potluck gathering at our new office from 1:30 PM to 3:30 PM. Please bring a dish to share.

1200 Centre Pointe Curve, Mendota Heights MN 55120. We are at Highway 13 and Crosstown on the frontage Rd. Once you are at the office building. We are on the far left side, go down the stairs on the right suite 150. There are signs on 2 doors and by the street.

For more information, or directions or if you would like to help, please call Sharon at 651-452-4141.

Sponsored by the Mendota Mdewakanton Dakota Tribal Council and its Members. Sharon Lennartson Chairwoman, Steve Renville Vice Chairman, Joe Lennartson Treasurer, Danielle Ross Secretary, Greg Strandmark Historian.

We wish to thank Minnesota DNR for their almost 30 years of assistance! Hope to see you there.

On December 26, 1862, the U.S. military lynched thirty-eight men of our Dakota patriots in the largest mass execution in United States History. Two more men were hung so that’s 38 + 2.

On November 7, 1862 a group of about 1,700 Dakota, primarily women and children, elderly were forcibly marched from the Lower Sioux Agency 500 miles by foot. To a concentration camp at Fort Snelling MN.


Fort Snelling State Park.

The park entrance is off Highway 5 at Post Road near the Minneapolis / St. Paul International Airport.

If you need more information, please call the Mendota Mdewakanton Dakota Tribal Community office 651-452-4141. Dress warm, the ceremony is outside. Women should wear skirts, wear pants underneath their skirts to keep warm.

Please bring some tobacco and sage.

Susu will bring 4 dozen doughnut holes.

Who can bring two cases of water? One for the ceremony, and one case for the office feast.

Steve V will provide coffee from JS Bean Factory.

Pidamaya ye

Sponsored by the Mendota Mdewakanton Dakota Tribal Council and its Members.

Sharon Lennartson Chairwoman, Steve Renville Vice Chairman,

Joe Lennartson Treasurer, Danielle Ross Secretary, Greg Strandmark Historian.

Hope to see you there. Love Good Thunder Woman.

The following is from:

On September 28, 1862, two days after the surrender at Camp Release, a commission of military officers established by Henry Sibley began trying Dakota men accused of participating in the war. Several weeks later the trials were moved to the Lower Agency, where they were held in one of the only buildings left standing, trader François LaBathe’s summer kitchen.

As weeks passed, cases were handled with increasing speed. On November 5, the commission completed its work. 392 prisoners were tried, 303 were sentenced to death, and 16 were given prison terms.
President Lincoln and government lawyers then reviewed the trial transcripts of all 303 men. As Lincoln would later explain to the U.S. Senate:
“Anxious to not act with so much clemency as to encourage another outbreak on one hand, nor with so much severity as to be real cruelty on the other, I ordered a careful examination of the records of the trials to be made, in view of first ordering the execution of such as had been proved guilty of violating females.”
When only two men were found guilty of rape, Lincoln expanded the criteria to include those who had participated in “massacres” of civilians rather than just “battles.” He then made his final decision, and forwarded a list of 39 names to Sibley.
On December 26, 1862, 38 Dakota men were hanged at Mankato.
At 10:00 am on December 26, 38 Dakota prisoners were led to a scaffold specially constructed for their execution. One had been given a reprieve at the last minute. An estimated 4,000 spectators crammed the streets of Mankato and surrounding land. Col. Stephen Miller, charged with keeping the peace in the days leading up to the hangings, had declared martial law and had banned the sale and consumption of alcohol within a ten-mile radius of the town.
As the men took their assigned places on the scaffold, they sang a Dakota song as white muslin coverings were pulled over their faces. Drumbeats signalled the start of the execution. The men grasped each others’ hands. With a single blow from an ax, the rope that held the platform was cut. Capt. William Duley, who had lost several members of his family in the attack on the Lake Shetek settlement, cut the rope.
After dangling from the scaffold for a half hour, the men’s bodies were cut down and hauled to a shallow mass grave on a sandbar between Mankato’s main street and the Minnesota River. Before morning, most of the bodies had been dug up and taken by physicians for use as medical cadavers.
Following the mass execution on December 26, it was discovered that two men had been mistakenly hanged. Wica??pi Wasteda?pi (We-chank-wash-ta-don-pee), who went by the common name of Caske (meaning first-born son), reportedly stepped forward when the name “Caske” was called, and was then separated for execution from the other prisoners. The other, Wasicu?, was a young white man who had been adopted by the Dakota at an early age. Wasicu? had been acquitted.
Letter from Hdainyanka to Chief Wabasha written shortly before his execution:
“You have deceived me.  You told me that if we followed the advice of General Sibley, and gave ourselves up to the whites, all would be well; no innocent man would be injured.  I have not killed, wounded or injured a white man, or any white persons.  I have not participated in the plunder of their property; and yet to-day I am set apart for execution, and must die in a few days, while men who are guilty will remain in prison.  My wife is your daughter, my children are your grandchildren.  I leave them all in your care and under your protection.  Do not let them suffer; and when my children are grown up, let them know that their father died because he followed the advice of his chief, and without having the blood of a white man to answer for to the Great Spirit.”